Posts Tagged ‘lumic’

Corporate Responsibility

22 November 2011

By the time I get to it we’ve already crested the hill and begun our long descent into the city. I fumble in my pouches for the spare gear, fumbling them onto my belt with shaky hands as he turns to me and asks if I’m ready. Always asking if I’m ready; it’s our little superstitious ritual, like baseball players tapping this shoe then that the exact number of times needed to make this at-bat a successful one.

“No,” I reply, and reflect how it came down to this, how this became the last choice for us. It’s not their fault, I suppose, as we’ve always kept them well-fed and rewarded for doing exactly what they’ve done. But then they got greedy and we were told that there’s a job to do and you just don’t turn down work in this economy, not any more.

He completes the ritual with “Well you’d better BE ready then,” and it snaps into focus for me. Cool-eyed, steely glances, flinty vision knocking sparks off every hard edge I see, every blade of grass waving in peaceful mockery of the violence about to follow.

The protesters, sensing my hesitation, redouble their chants. Too big to fail., they shout. We create the jobs. We run the economy. I spare a glance for their three-piece suits : some modest but most with pricey alterations, nice cuts and textures. Probably Italian, I muse. But they’re too late. Too little too late, I muse, and snap the shield down over my face.

The can comes up. Shake shake shake. The ball rattling is enough to cut through the crowd’s tension and I can feel them angrily anticipating that moment of release. WE ARE THE ESTABLISHMENT they call out defiantly. WE PAY YOUR SALARY.

The movement in the corner of my eye is enough: my partner gives a curt nod and we wade into the crowd, pulling corporations from their mothers, spraying indiscrimiately the ones who stand back passsively and the ones curled into balls alike. This corporation pulled its arm back, and I interpret that to mean they’re winding up for a punch so out come the truncheons and batons with neat little metallic clicks, extending into that formidable length needed and it’s all I can do to keep from laughing. Our manuals have trained us for it; our armor is superior to theirs, our tactics sound and by the jury of my peers, by the world who has granted corporations personhood,we shut down the corporation’s protests mercilessly.

Ever since the rulings in 2012 granted corporate personhood with the caveat that they’d be held personally liable, the CEOs have been encamped outside their homes, sulking in their tents and singing songs of solidarity. And these are orders, after all.

Health and safety reasons. And to show that we can’t be bought at any price: one corporation comes up, bloodied, clutching his policeman’s sponsor card and I bite back a snarl as my arm comes up and down and up and down and up again, red with freedom, red with truth.

— Lumic Lütcher


Morning Glory

11 May 2010

“You know what I miss most about the mornings? BREAKFAST,” he offers, as he slides his plate down next to me.

I look over with a touch of asperity; from the size of his gut to the seismic shift as he touches down on the bench, it’s clear that he hasn’t missed many meals lately, or perhaps the reverse is true. Here I was getting my groove on and marking time in my head, and now this metronome of small talk howaya, pleesta meetcha fires off in my ear every few moments.

He goes on: “If I were in charge [… static …] When I ran that project [… details …] Back when I was divorced, the hours I used to put in were immense; my youngest son started to act out because he knew that it would get him noticed. Kids, you know, they don’t see no difference between notorious and famous, and all they want is a little attention.”

The undercurrent of loneliness washes over me; here I’ve been thinking of ways to eke more hours out for work, and wondering why I can’t seem to control life at home. One pushes the other; there are only so many ways to slice up the day’s pie and I’ve been hogging all the best parts for myself.

I remember letting my belt out an extra notch last month.

I remember pushing her away and steeling myself against the cries.

I look over and the resemblance is startling. Again. “You know what?” I rejoinder, “I do miss breakfast and all the quiet hours of the day we spend together. We know how valuable our time is, and we need to invest wisely, don’t we?”

The smile creasing his face is all I need to know.

– Lumic Lutcher

Professional Help

15 July 2009

He pins me with a hard stare and continues.  “All’s I’m saying is –” jes’ folks, here, friendly-like “– all’s it is is that we’re all professionals here and we work as long as we need to work to get the work done.”  I squirm.  How can I not?  Isn’t it clearly directed at me?  Demons of the past float up to haunt me:  parents telling me to stop hitting younger children, teachers admonishing me for not writing proper farewell greetings, faculty asking me how serious I am about staying here.

His eyes, roving again briefly, catch mine and hold them, flashing.  “What we’re missing, maybe, is respect.  Respect for the work.  Respect for your, uh, elders.”  That last, thrown in for me; any high school graduate knows the tenets of Confucian thought are based on filial piety and respect for elders.  Violating that is tantamount to Christians wearing a pentagram and throwing up devil horns.  At Christmas services. Did I just physically flinch?

I’m not going to fry an egg on my increasingly hot scalp, but I’m getting close, I think.  Memories, having flown by in a hot rush, are soon replaced by rage and shame; shame that I should have known better — didn’t I brag in my interview that if I needed to stay, then stay I would?  Rage, though, displacing it; rage at my silence, rage that I’ve managed to drag the whole group in for my sins.

And then, to my horror, my mind dredges up that overwrought moment in Star Trek II where Spock, having gone in to manually activate the warp drive, explains to captain and friend, “The good of the many outweighs the good of the few … or the one.”  I renounced Spock in grade school and yet here he is, chiming in like my conscience’s own Jiminy Cricket, echoing the words beating down around me — no, us.  It’s conscience, then, dogging your footsteps, slipping into your shadow.  It’s conscience that gives these voices weight, even as my head jerks numbly into a nod as prompted.

— Lumic Lutcher

Hope Abides

24 December 2008

We watch the clouds scud by; no mere idle balls of white fluff these, instead layers of gray on gray on gray.  The ground stays dry for now but every passing moment darkens skies overhead and I can smell the moisture in the air before he turns to me and starts speaking.

“So what do you think about my plan?”

It’s strange, these political games we end up playing.  They tell you that you play by the rules, keep working up that ladder and you’ll get ahead.  It’s like a fraternity:  the longer you’re around, the less you have to share things until you find yourself at the spear’s point.  You call it the top of the pyramid, I see it as Prometheus’s rock, awaiting the eagle to alight again and consume the soul’s repository.

“Well, what choice did you have?”

Ambition is a harsh master.  Ambition demands we give more than we’re capable, that we make the extraordinary ordinary.  And ambition itself isn’t sufficient motivation for me; I can see why, but I can’t see me there too.

“I know!”  Eyes eager now, ready for the next challenge.  I envy the energy but never the burden.  When do we decide that today matches the dreams of yesterday?

Ambition again, ambition always; it’s so easy, as it is, to find fault with everything in the status quo.  Ask me twice who I want to be and I’ll give two answers; freeze time now and ask me if this is better than before and I’ll say yes every time.  It’s not about lacking goals; do you realize how lucky we are here today, together and alone?

“It’s a smart move, getting out of the coming flux.”

And yet the imminent change invigorates me even more.  I study the hands for a moment’s hesitation — the briefest tension, a betraying twitch.  Some people thrive on chaos, some people cut straight through to the point and I take the most meandering path on the best of days.  I am often betrayed by curiosity into learning little about much until it all sounds familiar, but only hints.  The treasure map of my mind I make and remake one page at a time.  Come the flood and wash the ink away.

“I’ll miss your counsel.”

“I’ll be back.”

Soon?  Soon enough?  The vacuum of power means that hungry men will be installed in buffets; will they remember their sore bellies with sympathy or gluttony?  There comes a point in every job I’ve had where my competence shocks me; for the million questions I asked, I remember a constellation of answers.  And I’ll hold down the fort as a loyal soldier must; but could I do it better as a colonel?

Here’s the ladder we’re expected to climb.  What’s at the top?  What if there’s a view we like better here?   It’s all unknown; it’s all formless until we breathe life into our own ambition and shape our lives.  Hope abides.

— Lumic Lutcher